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[YAK] My Experience Flying with Jewelry

Weeeeellll…Just a little something to amuse. I just yesterday
returned from doing the ACC show in Baltimore, and the Rosen show in
Philly. Knowing that I would have to go through who knows what kind
of security checks, I had meticulously reorganized my entire way of
carting along my wares, doing away with the traditional trays and
carrier, and instead, using suede roll ups tucked inside of a wheeled
carry on hard-case much like those used by flight attendants. I
removed the pin stems from my small brooches, and packed the very
large multi part spiculum brooches with their long pin stems, sharp
tapering tips, and pointed perfume wands into my checked bag. I got
through the first check point in Los Angeles, without a hitch. I
handed the inspector my business card, he read it, looked at the
x-ray, nodded, and passed me through.

I was about to board the plane when I was called aside by the gate
inspector. She told me to open my bag, and I smiled, and very quietly
replied that I would be happy to comply with her request, if she
would kindly take me to a private room. I handed her my business
card. Instead of looking at my card, she again ordered me to open my
bag. This time, I quietly asked to speak to her supervisor. She told
me that she could not hear me, and asked me to speak up, informing me
that she was deaf in one ear, that she came from Guyana, and
couldn’t understand or hear a word I was saying. She again ordered me
loudly to open my bag, and even more loudly, asked what was in it. I
tried again, and told her…SU-PER-VI-SOR…I even tried writing
her a note…she wouldn’t read it.

Since I didn’t see any screeners besides her around, and there
wasn’t anyone who looked like they might be a supervisor in sight, I
wasn’t really sure what to do, so I picked up my bag off of the
table, and gestured for her to follow me. I started to head for the
command post 40 feet directly behind us, staffed by the armed
national guard. She ran after me, and started yelling for me to stop.
The guard came rushing over, hands on their guns. The whole section
of people waiting at the nearby gates, froze in panic, craning their
necks to see what the terrorist threat was. The Guard didn’t unsling
their guns, confused I suppose, by the cranky, shrimpy red headed
hornet dragging a carry on, who was making a beeline straight for
them. I went right for the biggest guy with the most bars on his
shoulder, and whispered in his ear that, “I was a jeweler, their
security checker was a deaf Guyanese who didn’t understand english,
who refused to call her supervisor, didn’t understand a word that I
was saying to her, wouldn’t look at my business card, was putting me
at risk, and that I needed a private room for an inspection”. After
he stopped laughing, he personally led us to a screened off section,
where I finally opened my case.

The inspector looked at two sections that I unrolled for her. The
pearls, and the rings. I asked if she would like me to unroll the
rest of the jewelry, and she told me that wasn’t necessary, then she
told me to wait there, and left. After about 12 minutes, The guard
commander poked his head in again, and asked what I was still doing
there. I told him that the inspector had asked me to wait there. He
told me, that they had just closed the doors to my airplane, and to
get the heck out of there. He then escorted me to the gate, where I
had to explain the whole thing all over again to the American
Airlines supervisor, before they would open the door and admit me on
the plane. SHEEEESH!

The return from Baltimore to LA, was almost as bad. I realized that
I had forgotten to check the long pins with the sharp knife like
inserts, and they were in the carry on case that I had with me. I
handed my card to the screener, and she didn’t want to read it. Then
she looked at the screen, and saw the long sharp metal things, and
freaked out. She called over two supervisors, and I handed them my
cards. Luckily, she didn’t mention jewelry. One of them asked if I
had “documents”, as if I had suddenly entered cold war Russia, and
had to validate my existence to the authorities. What documents???
Yikes! I told him that my business card was my “documents”, and asked
for a private room. Three of them took me to a private room, not
allowing me to touch any of my things, which if I was a terrorist,
was probably a smart move on their part.

Once inside, I unlocked my case, and started to go through the
rolls. I figured to save the pins for last, all the while running
through plausible explanations in my head as to why I was carrying 12
large, 6" , metal, knife-like highly pointed objects, with long
sharpened removable metal rods hidden inside of them, and with long
sharp pins attached to them. After the fourth roll of goods, the
checker became bored, and told me that I didn’t have to show her any
more. I was pretty incredulous, knowing what she had to have seen on
her x-ray screen, and, knowing that I hadn’t yet shown her anything
that even faintly resembled the stuff that would have made her drag
me in there in the first place, but I was seriously relieved at not
having to either hand those elaborate and expensive pins over to
security for disposal, or find a way to check them. Besides…If the
plane was hijacked, I had 12, large, 6" , metal, knife-like highly
pointed objects, with long sharpened removable metal rods hidden
inside of them, and long sharp pins attached to them, at my disposal.
Lol…What can I say? Your tax dollars at work. Just thought you guys
might get a laugh, or at least a sense of horror at my experience.

Lisa, (My knee went out on the way back just to top it all off, drat
it! ), Topanga, CA, USA